Garden School:


Garden School:
Teaching this week: Rose pruning (again!) and Clematis pruning

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Box Topiary: mending the damage

We are well into winter, and although we haven't had much snow as yet, there may be some to come before we get back to spring.

Snow can damage our topiary - although so can high winds, boisterous dogs and footballs!  Although this post covers something which occurred back in the summer, it's a useful thing to know about, whatever time of year it is.

At one of my gardens, I am in charge of a lovely Cloud hedge, and one day found that one of the "clouds" had broken open.
 

Not a problem - all I did was ease it back into place, and - as you can see in the second photo - it was fine.

However, it kept happening, and I'm pretty sure it was the heavyweight pigeon landing on it (I've seen them do it) but I suppose it might have been  rough windy weather... well, for whatever reason, I couldn't let it continue as it would eventually damage the hedge.

Solution: cheat.

I wired together the two main branches.

I'm not proud of it, but sometimes *sigh* a gardener just has to do these things. Here is the step-by-step procedure, in case you ever need to do something similar.


 Firstly, assess the damage.

It's quite clear that there are two main branches within the head of this cloud, as the break always occurs in the same place.

By gently pushing the crack open, I could see that there were indeed some quite big stems way down inside the cloud.

Perfect!

I found a short length of plastic-coated wire, green for maximum invisibility.

Or possibly, for minimum visibility.
 Here's my hand, carefully feeding the wire around one of the man branches, as low down inside the plant as I can get without damaging any of it.
Having looped around the two main stems, I twisted the wire together at what seemed to be about the right gap: not so close that the shape of the cloud would be spoiled, but not so lax that the two halves would fall apart again.
There you go, success.

No-one would ever know.

I've clipped it at least five times since then, and unless I knew about the wire, I would never know it was there, if you see what I mean.

So if your topiary starts to get a bit top-heavy, or is damaged by wind or critters, try this technique in the hopes of saving it!